Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas and New Years Eve 2008

We spent Christmas in Colorado Springs with my family this year. We arrived at their house around lunchtime on Christmas Eve. My brother and his wife were already there so we had lunch together and enjoyed some time around the table just catching up. We went to the Christmas Eve service at my Mom and Dad's church that evening and then returned to their house for our traditional Christmas Eve. We always watch a Christmas movie and enjoy party trays for dinner - meats, cheeses, crackers, shrimp cocktail, veggies, and of course Christmas cookies. It's nice because we just nibble throughout the evening and is a lot easier on my mom than having to prepare a big dinner. This year's movie selection was "A Christmas Story" and we followed that up with "The Polar Express."

Christmas morning we all slept in a little bit and then started opening presents. My mom made a wonderful breakfast casserole and we took a break mid-way through the gifts to have some food and re-energize. A and I kept our gifts to each other small this year since we have lots of big purchases coming up in the next few weeks. He did give me this though which I have been wanting for so long and am thrilled that it is finally appropriate.

After the gifts were opened my mom, sister-in-law, and I started getting Christmas dinner ready. My grandparents came over early afternoon and spent the rest of the day with us. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner, enjoyed more catching up around the table and then exchanged gifts with my Grandma and Grandpa. We broke out all the food again for dinner and just ate and hung out some more. I love days like that - just hanging out together, talking, laughing, and eating.

We spent several more days in Colorado Springs and had a very nice, relaxing vacation. We took Jasmine with us which means I don't worry about if she's doing okay at home, so it ends up being more relaxing for me. Fortunately she's an adaptable kitty and doesn't mind going to visit her "grandparents" every now and again.

Once we returned home I seemed to kick into full baby-prep mode. We wanted to wait until after Christmas to start intensely getting things ready and now that time is HERE! We got the Christmas decorations down and the house put back in order. I sort of felt like I should put up the Easter decorations because I probably won't have much energy or time to change up the decor between now and then, but that's probably taking things a bit far, don't you think? ;) I'm hoping to get a registry started at Target in the next few days and we are trying to sort out the furniture for the nursery and figure out what we want to get ordered. I am 28 weeks today so baby is due in 12 weeks - let's hope baby stays put until at least 37 weeks because at this point there is no way we are ready!

We are kicking back at home for New Year's Eve this year. We've got three movies rented (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Eagle Eye, and Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) and a coffee table full of appetizers to get us through the night. Honestly, this is my ideal New Year's Eve - spending time together in full relaxation mode. Tomorrow we go to A's parents house for Christmas with his side of the family.

No matter what you and your loved ones are up to this evening, I wish you a few special moments to reflect on the Lord's blessings and lessons from 2008 and anticipate the year to come! Happy 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Wedding

Happy week after Christmas! I am back - at least in bloggy world. We are still on Christmas vacation until after New Years, but I'm finally getting around to blogging again. My blogging break was partially planned and partially taken out of necessity because I got so busy before Christmas. As much as I tried to simplify things this year, which I was pretty successful with, some things were out of my control and kept the calendar and the days filled with activities. The two biggest things were my sister-in-law buying a house and moving into it on Dec 13-14 (in Colorado Springs so we made a trip there to help out as much as we could) and my brother-in-law's wedding on December 20. And I thought December was busy on its own!

I love Christmas weddings because the colors and seasonal decor are so elegant and rich.

The groomsmen awaiting the arrival of the bride. The ring bearer was so cute! The second groomsman from the left isn't too bad looking either - wink, wink.

Almost married!

The new Mr. and Mrs.

The bride with her bridesmaids and flower girl - that's my other sister-in-law on the right.

The bride and groom with his parents (my in-laws).

Pretty Christmas centerpieces on the reception tables.

The wedding cake

The bride and groom with the groom's cake.

Here's a picture of A and me in the church foyer. This would have been a good photo for our Christmas cards if it hadn't been taken so late in the season!

I'll be back later with an update on our Christmas. I'm also quite behind on reading other's blogs so I'm hoping to catch up on that this week. Hope everyone is having a restful week!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Card Carousel

Faith is hosting a Christmas Card Carousel over at her blog today. If you haven't already, head over and check out all the great cards.

Christmas cards are one of my favorite parts of this time of year - so glad you stopped by to view ours!

We actually sent four different Christmas cards this year, so this is one of the cards you might find in your mailbox:

We have sent photos with our Christmas card every year since we've been married, except this year - go figure! We haven't taken a Christmas photo yet and I didn't feel like delaying our cards waiting for the photo shoot. Since this is the first year I've had a blog, I decided to design a little Christmas photo card on Scrapblog using our Christmas card photos from 2006 and 2007.

From our home to yours, a very Merry Christmas and God's richest blessings in 2009!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008 Christmas Tour of Homes

BooMama is hosting her Christmas Tour of Homes again this year and I'm happy to be joining in the fun. Let's get started!

The entrance and front door to our house. My mom made these sweet carolers for us last year and I just love them!

Our foyer - I've shown this tray and hurricanes before (here and here). I tried to keep the Christmas decorating somewhat simple this year since I am pregnant with our first child and don't have the energy to completely change things around, which is why I've just added seasonal accents to the hurricanes.

To your right is our powder bath - feel free to stop in if you need to.

As you come into the house you'll see our fireplace straight ahead and to the left.

The stockings from left to right are our kitty Jasmine's, mine, and A's. We don't have a stocking for the baby yet because we're waiting until he/she is born to find out the gender and we'll probably buy a stocking that is somewhat gender specific once we meet this little person.

This small Christmas village is on our end table. These pieces belonged to my Nana and Grandpa and last year they were given to me since my grandparents have passed away. It was very special to put them out this year.

Our coffee table:

The piano and front door in the background:

This nativity scene was given to me by my parents when I was a teenager. It has three wisemen and more animals, but we didn't put everything out since we're going for a simpler look this year. I kind of like the quiet peacefulness of just Mary, Joseph, Jesus and a shepherd.

Our Christmas tree, which we like to decorate with sentimental ornaments from our childhoods and the four years we've been married:

Just beyond the tree is our kitchen table and hutch:

We display our Christmas cards on this card holder that I found at Goodwill last year for about $2. It is from Target and still had the tag on it - I love finds like that!

Thanks for taking the time to visit our home and my blog! I pray that this Christmas season is especially meaningful and that you have many special moments with our Savior during this busy time of year.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NIV

Blessings and Love,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Questionnaire

I saw this Christmas Tag on Kristen's and Faith's blogs last week. It was such fun to read about their Christmases, so I thought I'd join in too!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags are so wonderfully easy, but wrapped packages are much more fun to open. This year I'm trying to only use gift bags for really odd-shaped gifts.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial

3. When do you put up the tree? If we're in town, we put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving. If we're out of town we do it the next weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? Ideally on New Years Day but sometimes it's in the few days following

5. Do you like eggnog? For about three sips but after that it's just too rich

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Either the Cabbage Patch doll named Tonya that I received from my Nana and Grandpa or the pair of pierced earrings that my parents gave me indicating I could get my ears pierced.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My father-in-law

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, my parents gave me one as a Christmas gift when I was a teenager and it's the one we still use today.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail only, please!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmmm, I'm not sure.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Sometime in the summer I start keeping my eyes open for possible gift ideas...but I really get focused on it in November.

14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I can't remember - apparently it didn't make a big impression on me if I did.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies!

16. Lights on the tree? We alternate between white and colored lights each year - I like them both so I get the best of both worlds. This year they're white.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Do You Hear What I Hear?, Carol of the Bells, O Holy Night, Candlelight Carol

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? When I was little we always stayed home, but now that we live 2 1/2 hours away from my parents, we travel that short distance on the years we spend Christmas with them. The years we're with A's family we stay in town because they're here too.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes I can, but only thanks to the opening of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? I'm with Faith that it's people wishing you "Happy Holidays." I always respond with "Merry Christmas" - that's the holiday I'm celebrating!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like our tree with lots of sentimental ornaments from years past and special memories.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A camcorder to record lots of baby moments come March!

And this isn't part of the tag but I thought it was kind of fun...

You Are a Creative Gift Giver

Your gifts are one of a kind, special, and well chosen.

Whether you've made it yourself or searched all over town...

There's really no one who has more of a personal touch than you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby Announcements, Twisted Peppermint, and Orange Chicken

This morning I saw the cutest card on a blog that has totally inspired me to start thinking about baby announcements. The card is by Debbie Olson at Thinking Inking - you can see her post about it here. I love the sentiment on the front of the card: Our Family has expanded by two feet! I'd never heard that before today and I think it's just about the most precious thing ever. I had to order the stamp and it comes in a set so it's versatile for lots of different baby cards. The centers and borders aren't attached and can be mixed and matched however you please.

My only dilemma is how to handle the gender thing. I'm thinking of using generic baby colors on the front of the card so I can get all that work done in advance, but then using an "It's a boy" or "It's a girl" stamp inside to announce the gender, which I can stamp pretty quickly after baby arrives.

I ran all over town today and did a bunch of Christmas shopping. I'm happy to report that as a result, we have the shopping for all but two family members taken care of! Hip hip hooray!

While I was out I got some of this at Bath & Body Works:

This stuff is heaven in a tube to me right now. I enjoy wearing fragrant lotions, but my pregnant nose does not. Thankfully I'm past the point of those scents making me nauseous, but the right combination can still trigger a pretty powerful headache. I've been searching for fragrances that are light and clean enough that they won't affect me adversely. Enter Twisted Peppermint - it's perfect! And oh-so holiday which is even better!

I also got to splurge on one of my favorite fast-food treats today - orange chicken from Panda Express! One of my former coworkers affectionately refers to it as orange flavored breading balls since there really doesn't seem to be a large amount of chicken in each piece. I don't care though because it is YUM-MY!

I also finished our Christmas cards today so that is one thing completely crossed off my list. Only about a hundred more things to go!

(orange chicken photo by cjanebuy)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas preparations

Yesterday I made the dreaded trip to the post office to mail our Christmas packages. I went mid-afternoon and surprisingly it wasn't too bad - hallelujah! For the past 4 or 5 years we've sent Christmas goodie boxes to the aunts and uncles - things like holiday coffee/tea/cocoa/cider, Christmas guest soaps, a kitchen towel, yummy scented candles, and/or some sort of sweet treat. I send them out early in December so that they have most of the Christmas season to enjoy the festive scents/flavors and so that the post office can't charge me an arm and leg to get the boxes there before Christmas.

My aunt in Chicago gets a little something extra each year and this year I decided to make her a scarf for the cold, midwest winter. It's a key-hole scarf so that you can pull one end through the other and it won't slip off your neck when it's windy.

Today I've spent the day at home working on my massive Christmas to-do list. We got a couple of inches of snow last night and while the sun is out now and the roads are probably perfectly fine, it's still a great day to stay at home.

This morning I spent a couple of hours working on our Christmas cards while listening to Christmas music.

The view out our kitchen window was white and Christmasy and so pretty. Jasmine found a great spot for hiding out and keeping an eye on the squirrels outside. She tucked herself under the Christmas tree and behind a gift - have I mentioned how cute I think this kitty is?

This afternoon I baked a batch of brownies which I am planning to indulge in later with a scoop of peppermint ice cream on top. Along with tall glass of milk - it's the perfect afternoon snack! :)

Hope your Tuesday has been a good one...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Last Day of Work

Friday was my last day of work in the office. The department had a combination holiday/farewell/welcome party - farewell for me and welcome for the new employee. The party was catered and was a delicious Mexican feast - tacos, enchiladas, and the best cookies I've had in ages (not Mexican but SO good).

My coworkers surprised me with a few baby gifts, too. The office manager bought us this mobile for the nursery:

We're doing the nursery in the "Classic Pooh" theme so this mobile is just perfect. I've loved Classic Pooh for many years and it's ideal since it's gender-neutral!

The department totally spoiled us with a very generous gift card to Target and the department head threw in a Visa gift card on top of that. What unexpected blessings! I am so grateful to have worked with such wonderful people and am sad to say good-bye to seeing them on a regular basis.

Thursday I had a farewell lunch with another coworker, JoAnn, and she surprised me with this sweet baby gift:

I have heard other moms rave about how great these bibs are so I'm thrilled to have a couple of my own. The little frog has a loofah on his belly and besides that he's just adorable!

Today I have a few last emails to get through and then I'll set up my auto-response telling folks to redirect their messages to the new employee. After that I'll just be checking in with her a couple of times a week over email.

This week feels longer already - although I know I'll be filling it up with lots of things that have been put off over the past few months. It's good to be back home!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, Dawn wrote a post in honor of an award she'd been given and then passed it along to moi! Isn't she a sweetie?! This is my first blog award and I'm so honored!

The rules of accepting this reward are that you have to list 5 favorite addictions and pass the award along to 5 of your favorite blogs (which I am going to conveniently overlook because there is no way I could select only five blogs - I have too many faves!). So here we go!

Addiction #1: Magazines - I've written about this one before, but it really is one of my biggies. I love magazines and subscribe to more than I can ever read in a month. Just having them around makes me happy for some reason.

Addiction #2: Milk - This one seems to be pregnancy related. I've always liked milk, but since I've been pregnant I cannot seem to get enough of it. At least it's one of the healthier things I crave so I don't feel bad about it. Mmmm, just writing about it makes me want to go get a glass....

Addiction #3: Buying Fabric - I've kind of gotten a handle on this since this past spring when I was at the fabric store buying fabric faster than I could dream of completing a project. I still have a huge stack of it on top of the chest freezer in our basement that I have to move every time I need something from the freezer. I splurged and let myself buy some more last week though and it fed some kind of need deep within my soul. I think it's coordinating the fabrics that does it - I just love walking up and down the rows of bolts seeing what looks best together and trying to find the perfect combination. Ahhh, the thrill of the hunt!

Addiction #4: Shoes/Purses - I hope it's okay to group these two together because I don't think I could rank one above the other. Now that I'm pretty much wearing flats exclusively, I've decided that I need an entire shoe wardrobe of flats. A bit excessive - probably! :) These are my latest acquisitions...

I can't seem to have enough purses either. I'm currently looking to add a purple one to my collection. I'm thinking of this one...

Addiction #5: Musicals - This one sounds kind of hokey but I double checked with A to see if he would classify this as an addiction of mine and he immediately agreed wholeheartedly. So apparently I really am a musical freak. I loved performing in them in high school and wish I could still be a part of a show from time to time. In fact, there's a part of me that wishes life really was like a musical. How fun would it be to break out in song and choreographed dance moves with a bunch of strangers from time to time? I think we'd all be a lot happier! For the time being I will have to settle for attending a show whenever possible and owning all the soundtracks that I can get my hands on.

Thanks again for the honor of this award, Dawn - it's been a blast playing along!